Planning in postmodern era: navigating normativity and political implications of ‘planning for/in uncertainty’
This dissertation primarily aims to address the question of what should be “the role of public policy/planning” in today’s era of uncertainty, compounded by climate change and natural hazards events in addition to ever-diverging socio-economic inequalities. In the first chapter, I proposed a set of “anti-essentialist norms” in planning, based on which planning practitioners can gauge whose voices and interests should be prioritized in the midst of the conflicts amongst different social groups and movements. To do so, I drew theoretical insights from third-wave feminist social theorists who have explored for a long time where to find a source of political solidarity that goes beyond the fixed categorization of gender. The second chapter, on the other hand, aimed to develop and promote more progressive use of the ‘resilience’ concept in disaster planning, by a thorough examination on the history and use of the concept across different disciplines. I have proposed that more emphasis on co-constitutive human-nature relationship as well as focusing on the collective aspects of resilience building can move us forward towards the progressive articulation of resilience theory, going beyond the pessimistic critique on resilience as “offloading of responsibilities”. Finally, the third chapter subsequently argued for the progressive potentials of resilience in disaster planning in practice — comparing the cases of Seattle and Paris. Based on eleven in-depth key informant interviews with practitioners in the field, I have demonstrated how resilience can become a source of empowerment and innovation for local governments to effectuate a more inclusive, participatory risk governance model. In the end, my dissertation was an effort to converge “social problems” and “ecological problems” in public policy — by outlining planners’ role in addressing social inequality on the one hand (Chapter 1), and yet at the same time proposing the possibilities of “resilience” or “emancipatory catastrophism” where our changing relationship with nature calls for the rise of solidarity and collective actions — represented as increasing local initiatives and more inclusive knowledge practices (Chapter 3).
- Urban planning